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Press Release

Matt Bach, Director of Media Relations
Michigan Municipal League
(734) 669-6317;


Communities and Colleges Moving Michigan Forward Together

Michigan Municipal League Magazine Focuses on ‘Town-Gown’ Partnerships


As a state, Michigan shouldn’t just want more jobs. Rather we should want more high-paying jobs, which require highly skilled, highly educated people to fill them.

So how does Michigan get the workforce to power this “knowledge-based economy?” Equally important, how do we keep our college graduates from leaving Michigan for perceived greener pastures?

The Michigan Municipal League’s most recent edition of The Review magazine examines these questions by focusing on the importance of Town-Gown relationships. What does Town-Gown mean? Simply put, Town-Gown is the interaction between the residents of a college or university community (Town) and the students and personnel of the college (Gown). It’s important that universities and host towns cooperate to educate the type of college graduates that businesses desire and create the types of communities this workforce wants.

“When it comes to the value of higher education are we getting the message?” asks Michigan Municipal League CEO Daniel Gilmartin in his column featured in the magazine. “Not yet, obviously. Michigan currently ranks a dismal 34th in the nation for the proportion of adults with a four-year degree. If we don’t have the resident talent base to attract knowledge-based businesses, then they aren’t going to set up shop here. And if they don’t set up shop here, even the talent we do have will be forced to leave in search of those jobs in other states. This issue of The Review not only shows the steps Michigan needs take to attract and retain talent, but it also gives examples of communities and colleges working together to accomplish this goal.”

The July/August 2013 magazine, available free online here, has articles on successful Town-Gown relationships in Alma (pages 22, 27-29), Big Rapids (pages 10-12), and Sault Ste. Marie (pages 38-39).

The magazine’s cover story is about the partnership between Alma and Alma College and how the relationship has evolved between the two long-standing entities.

Other highlights in the issue include:

- A column by League CEO Daniel Gilmartin that explains how now is the time to break Michigan’s downward spiral in per capita income and percent of adults with a four-year degree (page 5);
- A story by Lou Glazer of Michigan Future, Inc. about the state’s transition to a knowledge-based economy (pages 6-9);
- An article about how the Marshall community came together to continue afterschool programs after they were cut (pages 13-15).
- A look at municipalities that are implementing bold strategies to sustain vibrant economies and healthy communities (pages 16-18);
- A story about how municipalities, such as Jonesville in Hillsdale County, can strengthen their education offerings even without being home to a college or university. Learn more about the Jonesville SOUP (Students on Upward Pursuits) project (pages 20-21);
- An article penned by Westland Mayor William Wild about the merger of the Wayne-Westland fire departments (pages 30-32);
- A story about the factors communities and local government managers consider in making career decisions (pages 34-36).
- A look at the League’s training academy and how communities, like Flint, plan to use it to advance the professional development of their officials (page 40).
- A summary of a lawsuit involving a police search of a home in a Lenawee County community (page 42).
- A feature on the city of Utica (page 48).

The League’s May/June Review magazine was mailed out to subscribers this week. The print version of this magazine goes to more than 8,500 municipal leaders—mayors, city council, city managers, municipal staff—as well as state and federal politicians, numerous state agencies, and others interested in community placemaking efforts. The bimonthly magazine is also posted on the web at

Michigan Municipal League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services.



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